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Archive for September, 2008

The doggiest city?

As a dog owner living in a city without even one dedicated dog park I often think about where I would like to live if I had only the comfort of my dogs to consider. What are the most dog-friendly places to live? Luckily, people who have more time than I already researched this for me.

There is a fantastic piece by award-winning writer Sandy Robins on MSNBC’s site about the results of the Dog Fancy survey to find the most pet-friendly places. Dog Fancy Magazine has done this for a few years now and apparently has set criteria. Among the factors they look into are dog-centered activities, such as parades and festivals. Also important is how many businesses, hotels and restaurants, for example, are pet-friendly. Susan Chaney, the editor of Dog Fancy, says they look for cities where, “both local government and the general population embrace having that ‘doggie element’ in their communities.”

Daisy, a female Bulldog, is dressed as a princess at the Howl o’ween parade and the Most Beautiful Bulldog competition for dogs, in Long Beach, Calif.

Daisy, a female Bulldog, is dressed as a princess at the Howl o’ween parade and the Most Beautiful Bulldog competition for dogs, in Long Beach, Calif.

There are numerous places with some very pet-friendly policies. Austin, Texas has twelve off-leash dog parks. Florida has a doggie dining law allowing dogs to sit with their people in an outside location. Chicago has a big selection of pet friendly cafes, hotels, and bars. I want more dogginess! Well, if I can get it. (If there is such a thing!?) For that, it seems I would have to follow the advice of the glamorous and insightful Mae West, and “go west.”

Seattle, for example, allows well behaved dogs of all sizes on buses and trains throughout the city! Wow! I could only imagine! Dogs are allowed all sorts of places, from Norm’s Eatery and Ale House to the Pensione Nichols Bed and Breakfast.

Colorado Springs is pretty doggy, it seems. They have seven dog parks and the Broadmoor welcomes pets. In Colorado it’s all about the outdoors. (Traveling with the pack, yay!) Pets are welcome at the Bear Creek Nature Center as well as the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Dogs are even allowed off leash in the area east of Rock Ledge Ranch, among others.

Long Beach, California has these fabulous little parades and festivals, even beauty contests. My favorite has to be the Most Beautiful Bulldog contest! Adorable! Long Beach also has the only off-leash dog beach in L.A. County and it’s open daily year round. Stores that line Second Street all have bowls of water and doggy treats for our four-footed buddies. Isn’t that thoughtful! That is so thoughtful that I think from now on I should spend my get-a-way dollars in cities like these that welcome my dogs. Why not support such efforts tangibly?

Another city in California topped everyone’s lists and even admits its doggie-centeredness on its website. Carmel-by-the-Sea is full of restaurants and inns that allow pets. Shopkeepers keep the water bowls out for them and the biscuits are plentiful. The Plaza even houses a Fountain of Woof, a “dogs only” drinking fountain. Dog Heaven! I wonder if dogs in these cities are generally better behaved and healthier as they probably get more exercise and socialization.

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Why I Can’t Vote For Sarah Palin

I am a mom. I am happy to see how far women came in this election. I just can’t see casting my vote for someone who cares so little about animals and books. How do I teach my children to respect wildlife yet vote for a woman who gleefully destroys it at every opportunity? Alaskan citizens voted twice, once in 1996, and once in 2000, to ban the inhumane practice of aerial wolf and bear hunting. In both cases the legislature overruled their decision. Why? Apparently chasing animals down to the point of exhaustion is profitable. They enjoy the trickle of money from the mining companies, timber companies, and hunting guides. They want fewer predators and more moose and caribou for the “sport hunters.” Though, even the hunters agree the act of aerial hunting violates all standards of fair chase hunting. No matter to Palin, she went on and spent a whopping $400,000 to try and get Measure 2 that would prevent this, tabled. A clear effort to thwart the public will. Now, she has put a $150 bounty on the head, or leg in this case, of every wolf in Alaska. Even though there are fewer wolves to kill this year than in past years.

Measure 4 was a proposal aimed at stopping the Pebble Mine from dumping huge amounts of cyanide and mining waste into the streams that run into Bristol Bay. The Bay of course is home to the world’s largest Sockeye salmon fishery. Under Alaska law the governor is not allowed to take a position on ballot initiatives. Palin broke that rule by stating, “Let me take my governor’s hat off for just a minute and tell you personally: Prop 4—I vote no on that.” She even used the mining industries slide show in her presentations around the state.

She’s also quite a litigious person, another value to which I don’t subscribe. She is filing a suit in U.S. District Court challenging Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne’s decision to list polar bears as a threatened species. Even though Kempthorne added a rule meant to stop any new restrictions on gas and oil industries as a result of the listing. That is not enough for Palin and her cronies. They view following the laws of our great nation as “a big time-and-money-waster.”

Literacy is another subject close to my heart. I tend to view librarians as often our last bastion against censorship. I take book censorship seriously because I believe strongly in education. Sarah Palin does not. According to both time magazine and the New York Times, Palin asked Mary Ellen Emmons, (now Mary Ellen Baker) the town librarian at the time, “What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection.” Ms. Emmons was shocked and replied, “The books in the Wasilla Library collection were selected on the basis of national selection criteria for libraries of this size, and I would absolutely resist all efforts to ban books.” At the time she claimed her inquiries were rhetorical. However, they turned out not to be so. Emmons received a letter from Palin asking for her resignation. The letter just said Palin didn’t feel Emmons supported her. Public support helped her keep her job, as Emmons had been town librarian for seven years and was quite well liked.

Let’s just hope public support can stop Palin again.

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